Why Do Cats Love Boxes?

Have you ever wondered why cats love boxes? There are several possibilities to explain your feline friend’s obsession.

Why do cats love boxes?
Why do cats love boxes?

Unwrapping presents or getting deliveries is the favorite part of a cat’s day for some of our feline friends! Each offers an opportunity to use that box for a multitude of ideas. You’re probably wondering, why do cats love boxes? Here’s a list of possibilities that your feline friend likes to get boxed in.

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t

Cats love to hide. A box creates the perfect opportunity for that! They can play secret agent, stalk without being noticed, create their own fortress or they may just want a place to hide from all the hoopla of kids and boisterousness. It’s no secret that cats love to stalk, and having a way to do it while shielded from view is the ultimate sneak attack.

Chew Chew

If you’ve ever seen the corners of a cardboard box whittled down and torn, you have a kitty that loves to chew cardboard. Another reason your kitty may love being in the box is having the option to lay leisurely while chewing away at the edges. I have a rectangular box that once contained a telescope and is by far one of my kitty’s favorite places to lay. He uses it to nibble on the edges as he stretches out like he’s on a lounge chair.

Princess in the Tower (or Prince!)

Cats like to keep watch on everything and are alert by instinct. They watch for dangers and predators, and the best place to do that is from a raised platform. If your box is tall or on a raised surface, your kitty has a high place to get better views of what’s going on while feeling out of danger. As long as the box is on a stable source it shouldn’t be a problem, but check it to make sure it won’t topple over easily.

Play Time

The reason your cat may like being in a box can be as simple as play time! Your cat may view it as a game, waiting for toys to get thrown in or grabbing anything that passes by the opening. My cat loves to hide in a box by the stairs and stick a paw out at anything that passes. Imagine my surprise when my pant leg gets pulled backwards as I walk away! It can be startling at first but it’s great fun for him. Keep in mind that if the play draws blood or scratches skin, it might be time to trim the claws.

I can still fit, therefore I sit.

Tight Squeeze

Cats feel secure in small, tight spaces. They check the openings by using their whiskers to ensure their bodies can fit inside. Any small space that just barely fits your kitty is perfect for feeling secure and keeps people (or other pets) out. The places a kitty could hide are not just limited to boxes; cats love shoe boxes, paper bags, their carriers with familiar smells or even bookcase cubbies. Some even love curling up under the covers warm and out of view from anything or climbing behind furniture.

Whatever your kitty’s preference for hiding, playing or stalking, always make sure there is ventilation and no risk of suffocation. Your cat should always be able to get in and out of a hiding place easily and safely. Any boxes that become problematic or you find your kitty getting stuck in, remove the item for safety reasons. Your cat will find another hiding place or run to the door for the next delivery.

This video shows cats Jackson and Minnie playing around and in a box:

Photos: Peter Huys (top), pwever/Flickr

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, is an author, poet and pet lover from Louisiana. She is the author of an award-nominated book, One Unforgettable Journey, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. She was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. She is also employed as chief operating officer for a large mental health practice in Louisiana. Kristine has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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